It took some adjusting to, but now that he is settling in his new role, Rivaldo Coetzee believes there’s a future for him as a central midfielder.
Coach Pitso Mosimane made the tactical change last year by moving ‘Riva’ from his natural position as a centreback to pushing him further forward as a No.6 and when he has been given a chance, the Bafana Bafana international has passed with flying colours.
“Yes, I would say that the position grew on me and training in that position every day before the lockdown has helped me to adapt to it,” he explains.
“I actually enjoy playing midfield, I hope I can continue there and maybe have a future in that position.”
Coetzee has had to be more alert since the adjustment and it’s only natural that in the middle of the park, where a lot of the game is dictated, you have to be razor sharp.
“It was a bit tricky in the beginning, I wasn’t used to people pressing me from behind. I was used to seeing everything on the pitch and that made it easier for me to attack space,” says the 23-year old.
“But in midfield you have to think quicker and always scan so you know what’s happening around you, and know what to do with the ball before you even receive it.”
He says he has found some favourites he can model his game around now that the coach has switched his position.
“There are a few players that I like in that position, especially from teams that play the same football we do at Mamelodi Sundowns, which is to dominate and play to always have the ball. Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan at Manchester City are just two examples,” concludes Coetzee.